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December 19, 2014
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA
THE MODERATOR:Â We're joined by Coach Rose and student‑athletes Dominique Gonzalez, Haleigh Washington and Aiyana Whitney.
Coach, an opening statement.
COACH ROSE:Â We're still excited about last night's victory, and we're working hard as a staff to try and get a game plan, get some information.Â Last night was the first time I had an opportunity to see BYU play.
So there's not a lot of time between the match and the next match.Â So we're burning it at both ends trying to come up with a plan.
Q.Â Dominique, what did Coach Rose tell you when he recruited you and talked to you about coming to Penn State?
DOMINIQUE GONZALEZ:Â He's a very straightforward guy.Â Always has been.Â So he tells it like it is.Â And that's one of the main reasons I wanted to come to Penn State and play for a program like this.
But, you know, he wants a winning tradition in Penn State.Â And that's kind of what we try to uphold.
So I know coming to Penn State I wanted to win and work hard doing, so and I knew I could do that under him.
Q.Â But what did he tell you?
DOMINIQUE GONZALEZ:Â He said I can remember when I was 14, what's your best skill, passing, setting or winning, and I said I'd like to win.Â So that's the one thing I can always remember.
Q.Â What's it like to play for him?
COACH ROSE:Â Sometimes it can be hard, because he expects the best out of you and he wants the best out of you at all times, but when you take a step back and look at it, you wouldn't want it any other way.Â As a college athlete, you want somebody to drive you every day and make you better.Â And I appreciate that as a athlete.
Q.Â Either of the other players?
AIYANA WHITNEY:Â Pretty much the same thing he has high expectations for us as a team and individual athletes.Â As Dominique is saying, as an athlete that's all you can want is someone to push you every day and make you the best you can be.
THE MODERATOR:Â Haleigh?
HALEIGH WASHINGTON:Â I think Coach doesn't settle.Â When you know you can always give more, he won't accept it.Â Like if he knows you can be better and take it to that next step and give ‑‑ even if it's just 1 percent more, he expects that of you and then you indirectly expect it of yourself.
COACH ROSE:Â It's not about me.Â It's about the players.Â It's about Penn State.Â We're all doing a job and we all have different institutional expectations or personal expectations, but I thought Dom and Megan were the best two players on the court last night.
And Dom flies under the radar for a number of years.Â And we've discussed that.Â And we go back to a conversation obviously that she remembers that I don't when she was 14 where we talked about the value of winning versus the value of statistics.
I've said to her ‑‑ and I said, I think I'm right, I could be wrong.Â We'll see at the end of your career if somebody wants to look around the country and see if any libero had a better winning percentage or had a bigger impact on their teams over that same four‑year period.
I'm a really big fan of Dom.Â I wouldn't trade her for other people's liberos.Â And her and I discussed her limitations, she's presented my limitations, and we've moved on from that.
Q.Â Why did Tom Tait leave?Â Did he have any advice for you in 1978?
COACH ROSE:Â 1978, some of these people, even the older people, weren't born in 1978, right?Â Tom is a really bright guy.Â I think his intent‑‑ and this would be my assumptions since I wasn't there at the onset‑‑ was to start a woman's program in hopes of getting a men's program.
And as soon as he got his men's program, he was out, because he was a tenured professor, teaching exercise physiology and a very well‑respected academic on campus.Â So I think that was‑‑ I don't know if Tom truly enjoyed the early years with the women's team, but I think he really embraced the men's program and is still actively involved in USAA junior men's volleyball programs.Â Every summer when they go abroad, he's always either the head of delegation or somehow involved.
So I think Tom, he had a good plan.Â He was a bright guy and I certainly enjoyed my time where we could interact where he was still working at the university before he retired.
Q.Â Did he have any advice for you?Â Did he hand you a full cupboard, empty cupboard, flying by the seat of your pants then?
COACH ROSE:Â I just turned 25.Â I had just got a job.Â I was happy I got a job.Â I didn't know what I didn't know.Â I didn't have an office.Â I didn't have a telephone, I didn't have anything.Â I had 16 or 18 classes to teach a year, no assistant coach.Â I thought I had a good deal.
Q.Â What did you make?
COACH ROSE:Â Came in at about $14,000, got a $400 raise after my first year.Â I was feeling good.
Q.Â Do you still teach?
COACH ROSE:Â I teach one class now.
Q.Â What is it?
COACH ROSE:Â It's an ethics and issues of athletic coaching, which I usually start with a disclaimer for the students.Â Dom was in my class.
Q.Â Dominique, can you address, obviously when you prepare for BYU you have to prepare for Jennifer Hamson, but what else about the Cougars did you observe that you feel made them successful that you'll have to counter?
DOMINIQUE GONZALEZ:Â They're a strong team, worked their way to get here, they deserve to be here.Â That caught our attention.Â They play hard, they're recipient.Â I think that's something that we really noted.Â And they have some pretty tall players up in the front row, so that's also something that we've noted.
And like Coach said, we're going to come up with the best game plan we can and go out and fight.Â It's our last match, some of us as seniors it's the last time to wear this jersey.Â Go out playing hard.
Q.Â When you see a young guy like Shawn Olmstead, I hate to say this to you, but he's almost half your age, do you have any thoughts about that?Â Do you ever put any perspective on it or too focused on what you're doing?
COACH ROSE:Â I just met him for the first time a couple of days ago.Â It's a lot of young coaches.Â He's got a really good team, as Dom said.Â They beat Arizona.Â They beat Nebraska.Â They beat Texas.Â They beat some really good teams.Â Pretty good indication that it's not a question of their seeding, it's a question of your placement in the tournament and they've done everything that's asked of them at this point in time.
I think they're a really talented team, for sure.
Q.Â You're not going to bite on the old guy/young guy thing for me?
COACH ROSE:Â No, because that would have been like yesterday.Â John's the old guy, I'm the young guy.Â So we're not going to hit it yesterday.Â I don't think we should hit it today.
Q.Â Aiyana and Haleigh, how do you prepare for and plan to attack BYU's block?
AIYANA WHITNEY:Â I think the best strategy for that is to avoid it as best we can and try and hit high and work our way around it.Â I think swinging into the belly of the block, as Coach would put it, is probably not the smartest way to approach our match tomorrow.
So like I said, just try and avoid it as best we can and keep the ball high.
HALEIGH WASHINGTON:Â Being in the middle mostly, I want to focus on holding their middle so I can give my outsides and the pins an opportunity to really hit one‑on‑one, open up more shots for them, work hard in transition so there's more shots for them, and then getting one‑on‑one in the middle as well.
Q.Â One about you, by you, for you, you've now moved atop every list after yesterday.Â You're the winningest coach, you're separated in this environment and everything.Â Can you talk about that a little bit?Â It's more than just being there a long time.Â You do well year after year after year.
COACH ROSE:Â It's all about what the players do.Â I've been fortunate that the university has allowed me to be who I am.Â And I haven't had to play games to make other people happy that I could do my job the way I want to do it.Â And if we go a different direction and somebody wants something different, then that's how it is.Â It happens to coaches every day.Â So before I came to Penn State, I was accepted at BYU to get my EDD.
So I received a teaching assistantship.Â I was ready to go.Â I met with the resident bishop and then I got the Penn State job.Â Do you remember Glenn Potter, former basketball coach at BYU, anybody?Â That was my guy.Â Just a long time ago.Â You guys are young guys.
I had it all worked out.Â And then the Penn State job came along and I'm a big sports guy.Â And I'm a huge fan of Coach Paterno.Â And being a physical educator, we had some of the top physical educators teaching at Penn State.Â I thought it was really cool to go to a place where I had read their books.
And I've been there for 36 years.Â Now you want to talk to me.
Q.Â What exactly were you going to do at BYU?
COACH ROSE:Â I was going to‑‑ my mentor was a guy named Jim Coleman, who was I believe good friends with Dr.McGowan.Â And he went there over a short period of time and got an EDD, and I thought that would have been humorous to have.Â So that was it.
But then I got the Penn State job instead.Â So I've taken my team‑‑ we've been there two or three times to BYU.Â So I like it there.
Q.Â Coach, would you say it's at all tough to press the team to meet some of your higher expectations even when they are playing well?
COACH ROSE:Â The goal is to be the best you can be while you're doing something.Â I think life's competitive.Â And I maybe provide some of that when they want to rest on their laurels or somebody else's laurels.
It's easier for them to look back say how great somebody else has done, but what have you done.Â And I don't look at that.Â I look at BYU, they're leading the nation in blocking.Â So we have an hour and a half of practice between the last match to talk about what we're going to do and get in the gym and try and figure out what we can do to impact our will on them the same as they're going to do what they do to impact what it is we're trying to accomplish.
So at this point in the season, when the players look everywhere and there's a logo that says 2014 Women's Volleyball Championship, I shouldn't have to be talking about anything.Â I was puzzled at practice yesterday on why some of the players were even there.
But that was yesterday and hopefully today they'll be better.
Q.Â Since last year you entered the Final and this year with Micha.Â People talk about she's a tough player.Â People talk about her serve.Â Can you tell us how she's progressed as purely as a setter over the past year?
COACH ROSE:Â I mean, over the past year, she's been really fortunate that she's had Salima Rockwell to work with her.Â It was a perfect hand‑off, where I could just say here, talk with her.
And then yesterday, as an example, when Ali Frantti had three kills in a row and she wanted to set the ball and Micha got blocked by Inky, I leaned over and said to Salima, when you set and you did that, I was here to talk to you about it, you might want to bring that up with her the next timeout.Â Because if you don't I will.
She was always tough.Â Had a great serve.Â She kind of took college volleyball by storm in her second match, and maybe certainly the serve is her calling card.Â But I mean, she's had great success.Â I think she's got better control of the ball.
We're a team that has pretty good balance.Â I think she has the ability to distribute the ball to different areas and locations.Â And every team is different, and I think she's adjusted to every team.Â The staff has changed almost every year she's been there, other than me.
So I think that's always been an adjustment, when new people come in, the roles change.Â And so I think she's‑‑ but, again, if I had to really say what's her most endearing quality to me personally, she's tough.Â And her mom is where that comes from, even though people look at her dad and say, whoo, don't want to rumble with that guy, and I would agree.Â But she gets it from her mom.Â And I have great confidence that she'll be successful in life.
THE MODERATOR:Â Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports